Steven Anthony had all but given up refreshing his web browser in the hopes of seeing his name on the NHL draft tracker. Then, with time running out, the Halifax native’s phone rang.
“It was (Vancouver Canucks scout) Darrell Young and he said, ‘Congratulations, you’re now a Canuck,’” Anthony said. “I was just like, ‘Oh man.’ I had to refresh again to make sure it was real. When I saw my name, I couldn’t believe it.”
Anthony, a Saint John Sea Dogs forward, went to the Canucks in the seventh round (187th overall) in Saturday’s draft. He was 23 picks away from being passed over.
It’s exactly what Anthony needed after two tough seasons in the QMJHL. Once a highly-regarded prospect, inconsistency put a big dent in his draft stock, even after he produced 30 points in his final 29 games with the Sea Dogs last season.
But the Canucks were impressed with an off-season change in attitude from Anthony, who has been training rigorously and dropped 15 pounds off his 6-foot-2 frame.
“He’s always been one of the most talented players in North America in his age group,” Young said. “He’s working for everything he’s going to get now. Sometimes, you have to get slapped in the face to realize what’s going on. We believe the changes he’s made show he’s grown up.”
That showed in the draft-day phone call.
“The words out of his mouth were, ‘I will not let you down,’” said Young, who also hails from Halifax.
Anthony heads to a Canucks’ development camp on July 5 and will attend training camp in August. He’s hoping to get a chance to shoot on Canucks star goalie Roberto Luongo.
“Score one on him in training camp and I’ll be pretty pumped,” joked the 18-year-old. “It’s just special to be a part of an NHL team. I’m just going to soak it all up, keep improving, and hopefully, some day, I’ll be a Canuck.”